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HealthInfo Aoraki South Canterbury


Mātanga karu

Eye_Exam.jpgOptometrists check for problems with your eyes. They also prescribe remedies for eye diseases and conditions.

Optometrists are part of a group of eye care practitioners. This group also includes dispensing opticians and ophthalmologists.

Dispensing opticians sell and fit glasses and contact lenses. But they cannot perform eye health examinations. They also cannot prescribe glasses or other optical appliances.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who specialise in managing serious eye conditions. They also perform eye surgery.

What optometrists do

Optometrists can help you by:

If you have poor vision, you should see an optometrist. But even if your vision is not poor, you should regularly have an optometrist examine your eyes. This is to check for diseases or defects that may not have any symptoms. These include glaucoma and diabetes eye disease.

Finding an optometrist

Optometrists mostly work in private practices. A small number are employed in hospital eye departments and private ophthalmology clinics.

You can find optometrists online through the New Zealand Association of Optometrists or Healthpoint.

Optometrist qualifications

An optometrist must:

Most optometrists also have a Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agents (TPA) endorsement. This allows them to prescribe medications for eye problems. A small number are also able to manage and prescribe for glaucoma patients.

Optometrist costs

Public funding is available for tamariki (children) and rangatahi (young people) under 16 years old whose families have a Community Services Card.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2023.


Page reference: 268219

Review key: HIOPT-268219